A decade ago, Timber Creek High School opened its doors for the first time ever. There was not a Center hall yet, and there were only 880 students. As years have passed, different faculty have come and gone. As of this year, 26 members of the original faculty remain.
Derek Watson has been teaching for 21 years overall, this being his 10th year at Timber Creek. When an opportunity came his way, he moved to the brand new school.
“The first year, when the school opened, I was teaching and coaching down in the Waco area and I got a call about this opportunity up here and it was too good to pass up,” Watson said.
The first year, there were many challenges according to Watson. Many students had a difficult time adjusting to the new school. The school was unknown and students had to build the Timber Creek way.
“A lot of our students had been accustomed to going to a different high school all together. We had some kids from Fossil Ridge, Central and a few from Keller as well,” Watson said. “We’ve grown over the last 10 years. It’s been fun to watch the culture and the school just grow.”
When the school opened, Watson remembers the overall feeling that the school was something brand new and exciting.
“It was like ‘oh my goodness we’re fixing to greet all these kids and it’s going to be chaotic’, and it probably was,” said Watson. “It’s been great 10 years. The challenges early on were very challenging, but sticking with it and understanding that it is all about the process, it’s all about the students, it’s all about the relationships that we create and just sticking with that mindset.”
When Kathy Beers started her job as an educator 24 years ago, she was a substitute teacher everyday. It was not until a year later that she finally started teaching directly. Beers decided to come to Timber Creek in its first year of opening because she had a realization that she thoroughly enjoyed yearbook and wanted to expand her teachings in it.
“When Timber Creek first opened, they needed a half day journalism teacher and a half day art teacher. That first year, I taught yearbook, journalism, photojournalism and art,” said Beers.
When the first day came, Beers remembers her morning duty being quite boring, due to the fact that she was monitoring the student parking lot and there was hardly anyone parking.
“I remember we were all given our morning duty stations and mine was at the back of the school, near the senior lot and it was empty. That was my morning duty and there was no one there,” she said.
When Colman Roach came to Timber Creek, he taught AP World History and on level World History. After the first year, Roach moved up to 11th grade United States History. To many students, Roach was and is known as ‘Coach Roach’, even though he is not an actual coach at the school. He got the nickname from Timber Creek’s first principal, Todd Tunnell.
“I did not ever coach at this school. When I was hired here, I was hired by Mr. Tunnell, who I’d coached for before at Hillwood Middle School, so Mr. Tunnell had always called me ‘Coach Roach’ when I moved over here [to Timber Creek] and it just stuck,” said Roach.
Roach had a lot of excitement when it came to opening up a new school, which pushed him to move to the new high school. He already knew the principal and overall, it was a good decision to make the move, according to Roach. “It was pretty rewarding to see the school go from just freshmen and sophomores and a building that we couldn’t even fill to being fully developed,” Roach said. After 10 years, Roach still remains a history teacher and an original staff member. “It’s a great feeling to feel like you’re apart of establishing a foundation and getting to watch it grow, and I’ve enjoyed watching that happen,” said Roach.
Jared Swart started being an educator one year before Timber Creek opened. Swart came to the new school when he was given a significant opportunity while working at an elementary school as a STACK (Structured Teaching for Autistic and Communication-Delayed Kids) teacher.
“Halfway through that year, the director of special services said they had some boys that would benefit from a male teacher, and I was the only male STACK teacher in the district at the time, so she asked if I’d like to go to the high school and open a new one and start a STACK program there,” Swart said.
From there, Swart spent the rest of the school year at Central High School with the students that would eventually move to Timber Creek. As years have passed, Swart has become the CORE lead.
“I go and help kids navigate their emotions and navigate social life through high school,” said Swart.
With the first year, it was something that was exciting and challenging for Swart. Both the department and school have grown since the first year.
“Now when we have faculty meetings, we fill up pretty much fill the whole cafeteria,” Swart said. “Our first meeting with our principal at the time, was in the choir room and we were all up on the choir stans. We went from the choir room to the entire cafeteria.”
Wendy Warner wasn’t always the school receptionist; she started out in a different position.
“I started out working in the computer lab, and after the first year, I was moved to the receptionist,” said Warner.
Warner had lived close by the school when it was being built, and did not know that she would end up working at the school. A few weeks before opening of the school, she had an interview with Todd Tunnell, who would be Timber Creek’s first principal. For the first year, it wasn’t as challenging for Warner as it was for other staff members.
“That first year, there wasn’t many people here student wise, all the staff were just getting to know each other, the computer lab was empty for the most part,” said Warner.
Since Warner was not really expecting to work at the new school, it was something brand new to her.
“I think for most people, when you first walk into a brand new place and you’re meeting new people and you’re going to be starting a new job, you’re a little nervous and excited at the same time,” said Warner.
10 Years of TC: Construction Photos
Rebecca Rose has been an assistant principal at Timber Creek for two years. Rose overall, has been an educator for 19 years. She came from Fossil Ridge High School to help open the new school.
“I started the drill team here,” Rose said. “I started the Sky Dancers and our dance classes.” When Timber Creek first opened, the school was in need of a drill team director and Rose was contacted for the position, which led to her coming to the school. “I thought ‘well that would be fun to start a program, I mean it would stressful but fun’, and so that’s really what led me here [to Timber Creek],” said Rose. When Rose was given a tour of the brand new school, she recalled how odd it was to see a big school empty. “I remember us touring the building and not having C hall [and] not using South Hall,” said Rose. “It was like a skeleton, it was really weird.” In the 10 years that Timber Creek has been open, Rose has grown to love the staff and the school. “I love our staff, it’s just that the original people are great people and worked really hard to establish the foundation for our school and our programs. It’s just a very special experience and I feel very bonded to those people,” said Rose.
Kevin Golden has been with the football team since the opening of Timber Creek. Golden recalled the first year being quite challenging when it came the team and practicing. The football team started practicing before school had started, meaning that the building(s) were not completed.
“Our football team moved four times. We started practice at the Keller Stadium,” said Golden.
With the field house not being quite finished in building, the football team had to use the basketball locker rooms. With the football team, there has been a huge growth throughout the years. Starting with around 120 players to now with around 300 players, players have become more aware of how to be a true falcon, according to Golden.
“They all try to do their job and when they get to varsity finally, they understand the roll and they understand how to be a falcon. They help the younger guys become falcons and live up the expectations,” said Golden. “I will say that we have molded what our program wants to be and kids now come into the program understanding the expectations and knowing that you have to meet those expectations or you won’t be able to play.”
Shelley Hawkins currently teaches Pre-AP Chemistry, on level Chemistry and is an assistant cheer and cross country coach. Hawkins taught Pre-AP Biology and Chemistry during the first year of opening. The main reason for Hawkins coming to Timber Creek was because her two children were to going to attend the school when it opened.
“I had always wanted to be on the same campus as my children,” said Hawkins.
As the school was coming together, it was a challenge to the science department at first, according to Hawkins.
“There were only eight [science department teachers] and we had so much equipment, and thousands and thousands of dollars of equipment that we had to put in labs and that was probably the most challenging thing I faced,” Hawkins said.
As an original staff member, Hawkins was able to see the beginnings of all the programs during the initial year. Like the other staff members, she witnessed the school grow to become what it is now.
“All the amazing things from going to playoffs, our band, all our clubs, the theater, the choir, the sports and everything like that just to see it grow from having a couple of those to now we’re just expanding.”
Kay Nelson is currently one of the Educational Diagnosticians working in the Special Education Department. When Nelson first came to Timber Creek, she was the only Educational Diagnostician on the campus at the time.
“I was at Keller High School as the diagnostician and [Timber Creek] wanted someone with high school experience to come here to open up the high school. I loved Keller High School, but I had been there for five years and I thought ‘I’ll go and if you don’t like it, then you can come back’,” said Nelson.
She has been in the educational program for 34 years, this being her 10th year with Timber Creek. For Nelson, her first year at the new school was positive.
“I loved it, I was up in the front office with the principal and assistant principals and it was small, and I loved it and I thought it was very good,” Nelson said. Originally, Nelson’s plan was only to help open the school, but she ended up loving the school too much to leave. “I decided that it was good to have a change, so I just stayed,” she said.
Christi Boswell started out as an English teacher, and moved up to AVID six years ago. Boswell has been an educator for 13 years. She moved to Timber Creek after seeing that she had an opportunity to teach with her best friend Lauren Smith, an English teacher at the time.
“We both really liked the idea of being there from the beginning and opening a new school,” said Boswell.
Timber Creek has had an impact on Boswell throughout the years, from learning from other English teachers to being a part of the AVID program.
“I had some amazing English teachers that had been teaching longer than me, that I learned a lot from,” Boswell said. “Being an AVID teacher has completely changed my life and my view of education.”
AVID allows teachers to work more one on one with their students. As a result, Boswell has formed strong bonds with her AVID students and learned from them.
“With AVID, you have to look at the whole student academically and emotionally. You build such strong relationships with those kids,” said Boswell. “It’s just completely different now with teaching AVID.”
Russell Fuqua had only been an educator for one year before coming to Timber Creek. This year marks his 11th year teaching. Fuqua started teaching Introduction Engineering Design, Tech Systems, Communication Graphics, and Architectural Graphics. Currently, Fuqua teaches Introduction Engineering Design and is the golf coach. For Fuqua, the first year was a mix of being easy and challenging.
“It was challenging because it was my first year to coach, so I had to organize all the golf tournaments and I had to go through that whole process which was all new to me,” said Fuqua. “We did not have a place to practice our first year, so we practiced on campus.”
During the first year, there were only nine players on the golf team. Currently, there are 21 players. With the growth and years that have passed, Fuqua has been able to watch kids grow up and graduate high school.
“It just goes fast, I look back and I talk to kids that have graduated and it’s hard to believe that they already graduated,” said Fuqua.
Brad Mouser has always been with the sports program. As of now, he is the head basketball coach. During Mouser’s first year, he was the head basketball coach and helped with the football team. With the new school opening, Mouser moved as he saw a great opportunity.
“Everything that we’ve done is everything we’ve created as a staff and it has our stamp on it,” said Mouser.
It was combination of challenges for Mouser, as Timber Creek was his third new building that he had worked in before.
“The first year was not so much rough, you just had to be flexible. We didn’t have a small gym for the first three or four weeks of school because it was a storage facility for desks and everything else,” Mouser said.
Mouser has coached from the beginning of Timber Creek’s opening, and has plans to continue on coaching. “When you’re happy somewhere, you stay,” said Mouser.
Kim Smith has been an educator for 18 years. Smith was the first Family Consumer Science teacher at Timber Creek, and she still holds this position. Smith helped open up Central High school, and wanted to help open up Timber Creek.
“I was a part of writing the mission statement [at Central] and I really wanted to do that at Timber Creek,” said Smith.
When Smith first saw the building for the first time, she recalled feeling overwhelmed.
“It was so massive and so modern looking,” she said. “I thought ‘How am I ever going to figure this place out?’”
Before Timber Creek was built, Smith remembered the land being all field.
“In the summer, I would pass by here and they were doing construction on the road and it would a little progress here and there and it was exciting that it was going to be my new school,” she said.
Ashley Dolecki has taught for the last 18 years, with this being her 10th year at Timber Creek. During Dolecki’s first year, she was teaching in the math department. Although she was teaching in the math department, the subject that she was teaching got changed up.
“I went into World Geography for one semester and then I got pulled back into math,” said Dolecki.
When Dolecki first saw the new school, her and other teachers thought it was huge.
“Coach Fongsamouth and I taught together and I think he brought his golf range finder to figure out far it was from front to back,” Dolecki said.
Roger Thomas started teaching French and coaching tennis when Timber Creek first opened. With transitioning to a new school, it wasn’t as difficult for Thomas compared to other faculty.
“The easy part for me was that Mr. Tunnell was the principal at the time and he had been the principal over at Fossil Ridge [High School] for five years, so I knew him and I knew his leadership style,” said Thomas. “Teaching wise, I was not nervous at all. I was more nervous as a parent then a teacher.”
When the school first opened, Thomas’s daughter Allison Thomas, was going to be a freshman. This school year, Thomas’s daughter became a Geometry teacher at the school and is known as ‘Ms. Thomas’ now. As Thomas has been able to watch his children go through to Timber Creek, he also been able to watch the tennis team build up throughout the years. “[The tennis team] has grown a lot, numbers wise, ability and performance level. I think that is true for most of the sports,” said Thomas.
10 Years of TC: Homecoming Through the Years
Chacgaphong Fongsamouth’s start to education was a long, but a meaningful process. Fongsamouth started out in the military, started his own business, and then went into the corporate world.
“It wasn’t until much later in life when I decided to go into teaching,” Fongsamouth said. When Fongsamouth came to Timber Creek, he got the opportunity to work alongside his wife at the new school, who would be the first school nurse. Fongsamouth got into coaching thanks to a fellow colleague, head football coach Kevin Golden.
“I have to really thank Coach Kevin Golden, our Head Football and Boys Athletics Director for giving me the opportunity to join his coaching staff. This opportunity allowed me to actually attain my dream job of becoming a World History teacher,” Fongsamouth said.
In 2012, a World History coaching/teaching position became vacant and Coach Golden personally had to convince the administrative staff to release Fongsamouth from his previous department for him to become a Social Studies teacher & Football/Track coach.
“I am forever grateful of his trust and mentor-ship to me as both a teacher and coach here at Timber Creek,” Fongsamouth said.
Tina Demichele made the move to the new high school for the sports program and the other coaches within it. Demichele had known Coach Laura Moore, the Athletic Coordinator/Head Softball Coach and also an original faculty member, and saw an opportunity when the school was getting ready to open.
“Laura Moore, who went to high school with me called me and asked me if I would consider coming over [to Timber Creek] and I knew Keller was a great school district,” said Demichele.
Not only did Demichele coach, she was also a Biology teacher at the time. With working in the Science Department, there were many challenges with setting everything up.
“We had to totally open up all the new labs and put everything up,” Demichele said.
Mike King, head Women’s Soccer coach, saved a student’s life with help of Nurse Thoy, the school nurse back then. It was one of the first emergency situations to take place at the school, since it was the first year.
“It was first period and we were listening to the announcements, and it was the Pledge of Allegiance. Coach Hawkins came running in my room and said ‘Coach King I need you, a student is having a seizure,” King said.
King proceeded to run to where the student was. While King was trying to help the student, the student suddenly stopped. It was then when King and Nurse Thoy realized that the student’s heart had stopped.
“The whole time I was just thinking ‘This is somebody’s daughter’,” said King.
After two tries using a defibrillator, the student came back from the unforeseen occurrence.
“I could be in the worst mood in the world, and every once in a while I see her and she has the biggest smile on her face,” King said.
Julie Delgado has always done the same job at Timber Creek; being a registrar. Delgado’s job as a registrar consists of enrolling students, withdrawing students, being in charge of student records, sending transcripts to universities and colleges, sending student records to different schools, requesting student records from different schools and dealing with letters. It was a mix of challenging and being easy the first year of opening for Delgado.
“Coming into a new position in a high school, it was challenging figuring out how to do that,” said Delgado. “It was also a little bit easier because when we started out, it was only freshmen and sophomores, so it was smaller job to handle.”
After 10 years, Delgado has been able to know the job well and handle the amount of students that come in each year.
“Every year brings with it new challenges, and different situations. Trying to manage the amount of people being the only register in a high school of 3000 kids,” said Delgado.
Lonnie Judd is currently an English teacher, track coach, and offensive coordinator for the football team. Judd had known Coach Kevin Golden, and Golden had asked Judd if he would come to the new school.
“I came and looked around and I really liked it so I thought it was time make a move,” said Judd.
Adjusting to a new school was difficult when it came to supplies and equipment. As school years passed, students have changed a little each year.
“Opening up a brand new school, you have nothing at all. A lot of times you have to adapt,” Judd said. “I think every year, the kids get a little better. The kids have a lot of school pride and we didn’t have that at the very beginning.”
When the first day came, Judd recalled feeling really excited rather than nervous.
“I was really excited, we had already gotten to kind of know some of the kids through football and I was really excited to see what the rest of the school was going to be like,” he said.
Sheila Sterling is not only a coach, but also a dedicated AVID teacher. Sterling took the opportunity to open up the Timber Creek, even with challenges it would bring.
“As the teachers, we had to do everything. At that point, I taught science, so we had to take everything out of the boxes, set up all the labs, figure out what we had and at one point the small gym had every athletic equipment piece in there and all of us had to go in there and figure out what was what,” said Sterling.
Sterling has grown as an educator since making the move 10 years ago. Sterling was given the opportunity to teach AVID.
“That has truly changed me, I love working with my AVID students and helping them get into college,” Sterling said.